Google never made a play for WhatsApp despite reports of an unsuccessful $10bn bid for the messaging service, Senior VP Sundar Pichai says, though talks of collaboration between the firms did apparently take place. WhatsApp, which Facebook announced earlier this month it would acquire for a whopping $19bn, was never a target for purchase according to Pichai, with “press reports to the contrary” being “simply untrue.”
Chatter of Google’s interest in WhatsApp surfaced in 2013, with talk of a $1bn bid for the company. That was swiftly denied, though some valuations this year have pegged the company as being worth more like $1.5bn than the $19bn Facebook will pay.
Earlier this month, just after Facebook’s announcement, insider talk suggested Google had made a $10bn offer for WhatsApp, which had supposedly been turned down in the face of Facebook’s deal. The social network was also said to have offered a place on its board for WhatsApp’s CEO, an invitation that Google hadn’t extended.
Meanwhile, subsequent leaks claimed that Google would have taken on Facebook in a bidding war and was even prepared to best its $19bn offer.
That, Punchai said, is simply not the case. “WhatsApp was definitely an exciting product” he said during an appearance at Mobile World Congress this week, but Google “never made an offer to acquire them.”
During the MWC opening keynote, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg defended the high price the company would pay for WhatsApp, and in fact argued that he felt the messaging service was worth more than $19bn.